By Lean Lawal
Finally, both the panel report and the government White Paper are out in the public domain.
Firstly the Lagos State Government has kept faith with the people all the way.
Promises have been kept and obviously no attempt at cover-up or overriding government influence on the panel members as openly opined and officially acknowledged in the report by the panelists themselves. This is a clear departure from what we are used to at state and federal levels under similar circumstances in the past.
The big question now ought to be: what is next?
To many critics, it can be summed up as follows:
*Full implementation of the recommendation.
*And prosecution for people who have been indicted.
Few others are, however, concerned that a critical mandate of the commission was not fulfilled. And that is the question of “what really happened on the night of 20:10:2020??
Unfortunately, this job is 100% that of the panel.
On this matter, the panel obviously, for an inexplicable reason, failed tragically to provide answers to that pertinent question. This still angers many members of the public. However, to put the blame on government, state or federal, is evidently misplaced aggression. This is a simple truth.
As for the recommendations, all 32 were accepted except just ONE, for which the state government proffered cogent and reasonable arguments for its decision.
Six others were accepted but with modifications. This is not unusual and quite excusable because the implementation must take into account practicality and precedence which only the state can decide on the modus operandi.
The other 14 recommendations that were passed to the Federal Government cannot be controverted as the state has constitutional limitations as an entity within a federation.
As for the prosecution of indicted civilians, obviously, no matter how anxious the public is, due process must still be followed.
However, a very thorny issue is that of semantics. Obvious propaganda has been sold to the people and it has become entrenched in the minds of many for over a year that there was a MASSACRE at Lekki Toll Gate on a fateful night.
But the panel report which also used the word, albeit, in a mischievous manner, never justified its usage throughout the entire report. No facts, proven evidence, or witness testimony supported this misleading and obviously preconceived disinformation. For they themselves stated, although also wrongly that nine people died. In a protest attended by several thousand, the killing of nine unarmed protesters is dastardly and brutal, totally unacceptable in a democracy but cannot be labelled as a massacre by the ordinary meaning of the word.
But for those, home and abroad, who have passionately held on to this deliberate falsification for one year, cannot connect this new reality with their sustained preconceived conjecture lacking any factual evidence.
The final way out is to find peace and seek ways to heal the seemingly fractured society. The sad and regrettable event has come and gone. All efforts must now be made to seek closure and ensure it never happens in our society again. We must continue to encourage the government to pursue justice and compensate the aggrieved. But to close our hearts to peace and continued progress in the state is to demonise an initiative conceived for the good of society and convert selfless defenders of people’s rights and freedom to relentless animated tyrants and antagonists of peace and good order of society.
Lawal, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Lagos